Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Help for Writers a la Ann Landers


Note: I often answer questions in caps and in bits or color so I don’t forget anything!. This letter is from a client that I published in the Q&As a la Ann Landers section of my  #SharingwithWriters newsletter.  I thought visitors and subscribers to this #SharingwithWriters blog might benefit, too, because so many of my authors are getting inaccurate information--including information on publishers--on the web!  

Hello Carolyn,

Your recent article on Bookbaby’s blog coincided with my reading an article about using both Amazon and either IngramSpark or Bookbaby.

I am glad you read this blog post! It is an excerpt from the frugal book promoter. Did it seem familiar! (-:

I am inclined to do this so that we can get our books into bookstores and libraries more easily.

First of all, when you publish with Createspace (owned by Amazon and free) they have a distribution package (free) that lets bookstores and libraries order directly from other outlets like Ingram and . . .well, you would need to ask them about others. There are quite a few and the Createspace contact number is easily found on their site. Http://createspace.com

I understand bookstores hate Amazon, understandably so, and will not carry Amazon published book because of Amazonophobia and the uncompetitive wholesale rates.

Bookstores may hate Amazon. Most retailers aren't fond of their competitors and Amazon certainly fits into that category. But as a former retailer, I can tell you that bookstores order from Baker and Taylor almost exclusively because it is cost effective to consolidate all their orders (one check, one place to return books, etc.) and because B and T accepts returns. So, if your book isn't available at B and T, you will have no better luck no matter who you go with--Bookbaby or Smashwords or anyone else. And Amazon/Createspace does use Baker and Taylor as a distribution point.

Further, I'm  thinking you should go back to the Index of The Frugal Book Promoter (I know you have it) and research my rather strongly worded bit on why I think that in most instances it is an utter waste of good marketing time for self-published authors or micro presses like yours to go after bookstores, anyway...meaning, if you are published independently (or smaller than Simon and Schuster), you won't get much attention from them. And if you should get lucky a few times, that won't last long. They will return your books per their contract with Baker and Taylor and not order again unless they sell some given percentage (a lot) of your book within a given amount of time. I think time is better spent with other marketing--almost any other marketing--to targets that match your books. (for yours, spiritual titles--that might be independent bookstores that specialize in inspirational/alternative religion books.) In that case, bookstores will probably order from Baker and Taylor no matter who printed them--Createspace, Bookbaby, Ingram or about anyone else.

So, will I go with BookBaby or IngramSpark? What are your thoughts? Since you have an “in” with Bookbaby, maybe you can sell me on them.

You are very adept at formatting and computers so I don't think this is an issue for you, but amateur self-publishers find Ingram a real uphill climb compared to Bookbaby or Createapsce/Amazon.

I would appreciate your help with this. There is so much stuff out there on the web that I don’t know who to believe.

Exactly. You just addressed one of my major worries. That is, authors getting inaccurate information. That’s why I hope authors looking for reliable information buy full books from authors who have been around the block a few times and worked with micro publishers and self publishers--or better—have done that for themselves rather than taking unvetted advice in bits and pieces from the web. I can't tell you how much misinformation I find on the web every day and hear from new clients who are . . .well, confused! And often don’t know it!

I would love to see you at the Bookbaby conference. I think it is still only $149 and you can still use my "carolyn" code and get an additional discount. No, I don't get credit. I just twisted their arm so I could get this offer for my clients. I will be presenting on Saturday, Nov. 4.   

I would be happy to spend an hour with you telling you how to get your book into bookstores and libraries the old-fashioned elbow-grease way--the way my husband recently did for his What Foreigners Need To Know About America From A To Z. He regularly researches colleges and universities to find academic personnel and departments that would find his book useful and contacts them with their personal or department e-mail addresses and, when possible, fosters relationships with the decision makers. His results have been amazing including one university that recommends his book to their Fulbright scholars.

I could also share a story about one indie author who was relatively successful selling to a chain of bookstores in the Midwest and describe her process (at least an hour a day contacting them over a period of several years!). She shouts her success far and wide, but never bothered to say this one chain was the only success she had with bookstores (selling just a couple of books per store each month and accepting returns—many damaged—in order to do that!). And the marketing time she had to give up in order to achieve it.

Your friend,

Brother Simeon
Light of the Spirit Monastery
Light of the Spirit Press
505.281.4888



MORE ABOUT THE BLOGGER

Howard-Johnson is the author of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. She is also a marketing consultant, editor, and author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers including the award-winning second editions of The Frugal Book Promoter (where she talks more about choosing and the advantages of winning contests and how to use those honors)  and The Frugal Editor. Her latest is in the series is  How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically. Learn more on her Amazon profile page, http://bit.ly/CarolynsAmznProfileGreat Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers is one of her booklets--perfect for inexpensive gift giving--and, another booklet, The Great First Impression Book Proposal helps writers who want to be traditionally published. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including one she encourages authors to read because it will help them convince retailers to host their workshops, presentations, and signings. It is A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. In addition to this blog, she helps writers extend the exposure of their favorite reviews at TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com. She also blogs at all things editing--grammar, formatting and more--at The Frugal, Smart, and Tuned-In Editor (http://TheFrugalEditor.blogspot.com )

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